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Portadown 3 Carrick Rangers 0

Brian Gartland shared out the champagne the Ports fans gave him as man of the match at Shamrock Park on Saturday — and insisted on sharing the honours.

This team is sound from goalkeeper to strikers,” the ex-Monaghan United defender insisted as he reflected on a job well done.

“Every department did a professional job, especially in the first-half when we dominated.

“But all credit to Carrick for changing things after our second goal went in. They took the game to us after the interval and their number 11 (sub Paul Heatley) was especially effective.”

The fans chose wisely in giving Gartland the after-match honours, a combination of his goal in the 15th minute, another stinging effort which Rangers keeper Maros Valko brilliantly beat away and an all-round top display as the steel reinforcement of a mean defence which has conceded just one goal in the last four outings.

Carrick boss Stephen Small said: “I honesty rate Portadown better than Linfield on present form. The Blues beat us 3-0 last week, but Portadown played better football and we really had to change things to try and contain them.” |

Gartland’s goal set the hosts on their way. He collected a Jamie Tomelty corner from the left and cracked it past Valko from close range.

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Curling strikes from Matthew Tipton and Kevin Braniff only added to the Ports’ dominance.

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